Kagoshima is the furthest point that I am going in this trip. The strategy that I am employing is to go to the furthest point during the initial part of the trip (i.e. 3-4 hours train rides) and then followed by shorter train ride as I move back to Tokyo. Though this is the furthest point, it is not halfway point. Halfway point is planned to be in Osaka which is towards the end of next week, where I will spend approximately 2 days – just enough for two rounds of Endo Sushi (yes – it is a reason to go to Osaka) and scallops at Kuromon Market!
Kagoshima is a a port city, it is nearer to South Korea than to Tokyo. In fact, the weather in Kagoshima is an opposite reflection of the weather in Nagano. Few days ago – I was trekking in cold winter and now – it felt like I am in spring. The weather is approximately about 12-15 degrees Celsius. Pretty nice if you ask me.
The train ride here from Kyoto is quite long. It took more than 4 hours and required a switch of train in Shin-Kobe. As it is still a Sakura Shinkansen – there was no need to switch platform. Just need to change train. The following map shows the route that I took from Kyoto to Kagoshima:
Today is the day that I am going Arashimaya. Arashimaya is a western district of Kyoto. It is a major touristy site! Going there just for the check box exercise.
In order to go there from where I stayed, I need to take a local train from Kyoto Station. It is a 15 mins ride. As I have a JR Rail Pass, I just need to show the conductor my pass and here I go! The track is track 31-33 at the JR West Gate.
The train to Arashiyama
The train will take you to Saga-Arashiyama Station. Do note that there are two types of train, one will take you direct to this station from Kyoto, while the other will take you thru most of the stop. To me it does not matter as I am not rushing for time. It took me less than 30 mins to get to Arashiyama.
Once you get to Arashiyama Station, you will need to walk about 10 mins to get to the Main Street of Arashiyama. Here you can make a decision on whether to go to the Bamboo Forest or you can Tenryuji Temple.
Left Kuala Lumpur from via Malaysia Airlines MH88. Flight left on time (surprising for Malaysia Airlines). Flight duration is 6:40 mins and landed in Tokyo about 7:15am. Surprisingly the temperature here is a good 23 degrees. Far cry from the expected low 10s!
Getting the reserved SIM card
First port of call is to pickup the SIM card that I ordered from Sakura Mobile. Pretty expensive but I wanted to have a more stable connection. Paid almost JPY22000! Crazy. The process of picking up the SIM card was easy, as I just needed to go to the post office, and show my tracking number and verify myself with my passport. With that the person will then pass me the package that contains the sim. Once I have the sim, I then installed on my phone. All is working fine now!
Moving on to Rail Pass
I bought the rail pass in Malaysia through the Japanese Travel Bureau (JTB) thats located in Lot 10. Apparently you can only by the pass from overseas but what I found out is that you CAN buy the pass in Japan but the price will be much more expensive. There’s a savings of roughly 10%.
Narita Express to Tokyo Station
Once I gotten the rail pass, I quickly booked a train on NEX (Narita Express) at 9.15am, to get to Tokyo Station. From Tokyo Station – I can take my next train to Nagano.
Lunch at Tokyo Station
At Tokyo Station – there is this place located on 1st Floor – which is called Kitchen Street. Similar to the concept of food court, you can get mostly Japanese local food there. I was toying around the idea of going for a pure Uni bowl, or should I go for Ochazuke. I did go for Ochazuke, and I thought that was a great decision!
The shop on Kitchen Street
Then to Nagano
Utilising the rail pass again, booked a ticket on the Shinkansen heading towards Nagano. Its almost a 2 hours ride. The Shinkansen that I took is the Hokuriku Shinkansen that left Tokyo Station at 12:04pm (train 609) and reached Nagano at 13:53pm. As always – there weren’t any surprises!
I am too tired to continue – will do day 1 tomorrow morning.. maybe